7 Things To Know When Renting to College Students

By Ashley Paskill on March 28, 2024

If you have rental properties in a college town or a section of a city that has a large number of students, at least some of your tenants are likely students. You may even decide to rent exclusively to college students. Unlike other tenants, students are unique in that they are often first-time renters. As such, they require different things than other tenants. As the property manager, it is important that you are able to take care of their needs properly.

Marketing to students

In order to have student tenants, you have to market your properties to the student population. Utilize social media by joining Facebook groups specifically for students for the college you are near and advertising your properties there. Post flyers around the campus and attend student housing fairs the college may hold. In order for students to come rent your properties, they need to know about them. The best way for them to find out about you is to advertise where they are.

Know what students need

Knowing what students want and need in a rental property can help you market your property and draw students to rent from you. Students need a place that is affordable, especially since the cost of college itself is expensive and not every student has a job. Some students want certain amenities such as in-unit laundry services. For students who rely on walking or public transportation, location is everything. Students who drive need to know that they will have a place to park at their rental property. Be sure to include these types of things in your listings so students can consider your properties when deciding where to live.

Staying in touch

As a property manager, you need ways to communicate with your tenants, both on an individual level and as a group. This is especially true for students. Many students, especially younger students, may not like traditional letters or phone calls. They might prefer texts or emails. Consider creating a tenant portal so you can message tenants and receive messages from them. Create an email group so that tenants can be informed of upcoming news and events. Make a Facebook group for tenants to join so they can keep in touch with each other. Create a website for your property and keep it updated.

Image: Vlada Karpovich via https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-drinking-coffee-while-working-with-laptop-4050289/

Safety measures

Students want to feel a sense of safety where they live. Having adequate lighting and security cameras can help, but more actions need to be taken. If students are going to be away during breaks, have them check in with you and reroute their mail. Make sure the roommates are all on the same page if roommates are involved. Ensure that all doors’ locks work properly and that windows also have the ability to be locked. Be sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working and have new batteries. Install peepholes on the doors so tenants can look to see who is at the door before they open it. These safety measures will help your student tenants feel safer and their parents feel more confident with them living at your property.

Dealing with parents

Unlike other tenants, you will likely be in contact with the parents of student [AP1] tenants. They may be cosigning on the lease or they may have general concerns and questions about the rental property. Even if the parents do not cosign, consider getting their contact information to have on file just in case things were to come up. Parents can step in if you are having issues getting the student to pay rent on time or behave properly in the property.

College student challenges

If you are used to renting to more experienced tenants, there may be some new challenges you will face when renting to college students. College students tend to be messy, especially if they have a busy schedule or are used to their parents cleaning up after them. Since tuition, books, and other expenses are pricey, they may struggle to pay rent on time, especially if they do not have jobs. Students may come to you for roommate issues, even though that does not fall under your scope of responsibility. While you may be used to having leases that last for many years, college students want leases that allow them to move, whether that is after a semester or after the school year. Be patient with students and understand that they are still learning how to navigate the world of rental properties.

Raising rent

Sometimes, you have to raise rent, even for student tenants. This can be upsetting for students, especially since their budgets are already tight. Make sure you are raising the rent legally and give tenants proper notice. If your student tenants are not graduating and you want them to continue renting after the increase in price, offer incentives such as a free parking spot to make up for the increase.

College students can be challenging as tenants, but if you know what to expect, you can be successful in renting to them.

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